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Individual Composer & Musician

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  1. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    4.8 hrs • 6/28/2016 • Unabridged

    From the New York Times bestselling author of Love Is a Mix Tape, a thoughtful and loving meditation on the life of the late David Bowie that explores his creative legacy and the enduring and mutual connection he enjoyed with his fans Innovative. Pioneering. Brave. Until his death in January 2016, David Bowie created art that not only pushed boundaries, but helped fans understand themselves and view the world from fantastic new perspectives. When the shocking news of his death on January 10, 2016 broke, the outpouring of grief and adulation was immediate and ongoing. Fans around the world and across generations paid homage to this brilliant, innovate, ever evolving artist who both shaped and embodied our times. In this concise and penetrating book, highly regarded Rolling Stone critic, bestselling author, and lifelong Bowie fan Rob Sheffield shares his own feelings about the passing of this icon and explains why Bowie’s death has elicited such an unprecedented emotional outpouring from so many lives.

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    On Bowie by Rob Sheffield

    On Bowie

    4.8 hrs • 6/28/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.3 hrs • 4/26/2016 • Unabridged

    Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it’s never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary west coast scene from 1977–1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length tales from the authors along with personal essays from famous (and infamous) players in the scene. Additional authors include: Exene Cervenka (X), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Mike Watt (The Minutemen), Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go’s), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Chris D. (Flesh Eaters), Jack Grisham (TSOL), Teresa Covarrubias (The Brat), Robert Lopez (The Zeros, El Vez), as well as scenesters and journalists Pleasant Gehman, Kristine McKenna, and Chris Morris. Through interstitial commentary, John Doe “narrates” this journey through the land of film noir sunshine, Hollywood back alleys, and suburban sprawl—the place where he met his artistic counterparts Exene, DJ Bonebrake, and Billy Zoom—and formed X, the band that became synonymous with, and in many ways defined, LA punk. Under the Big Black Sun shares stories of friendship and love, ambition and feuds, grandiose dreams and cultural rage, all combined with the tattered, glossy sheen of pop culture weirdness that epitomized the operations of Hollywood’s underbelly. Readers will travel to the clubs that defined the scene, as well as to the street corners, empty lots, apartment complexes, and squats that served as de facto salons for the musicians, artists, and fringe players that hashed out what would become punk rock in Los Angeles.

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    Under the Big Black Sun

    7.3 hrs • 4/26/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 11.1 hrs • 7/7/2015 • Unabridged

    This is the first biography of Ralph Peer, the adventurous—even revolutionary—A&R man and music publisher who saw the universal power locked in regional roots music and tapped it, changing the breadth and flavor of popular music around the world. It is the story of the life and fifty-year career, from the age of cylinder recordings to the stereo era, of the man who pioneered the recording, marketing, and publishing of blues, jazz, country, gospel, and Latin music. The book tracks Peer’s role in such breakthrough events as the recording of Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues” (the record that sparked the blues craze), the first country recording sessions with Fiddlin’ John Carson, his discovery of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family at the famed Bristol sessions, the popularizing of Latin American music during World War II, and the postwar transformation of music on the airwaves that set the stage for the dominance of R&B, country, and rock ’n’ roll. But this is also the story of a man from humble Midwestern beginnings who went on to build the world’s largest independent music publishing firm, fostering the global reach of music that had previously been specialized, localized, and marginalized. Ralph Peer redefined the ways promising songs and performers were identified, encouraged, and promoted; rethought how far regional music might travel; and changed our very notions of what pop music can be.

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    Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music by Barry Mazor

    Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music

    Introduction read by Marty Stuart
    11.1 hrs • 7/7/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 4.2 hrs • 5/1/2015

    Fiddler on the Roof is one of the seminal musicals in the American Musical Theater cannon and this treasure chest of never-before released private demos gives an insight into the creation of that masterpiece. Composer Jerry Bock would send a musical “seed” to lyricist Sheldon Harnick who would then write the words. Hear Bock create the music for “Sunrise, Sunset.” Hear Bock almost forget the tune to what would become “If I Were A Rich Man.” Hear songs that never made it into the show. Hear thirty-three Jerry Bock songs that never even had a lyric. Includes an interview with Sheldon Harnick discussing his experiences with Bock, Richard Rodgers, and others.

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  5. 1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
    8.9 hrs • 11/4/2014 • Unabridged

    The final chapter of Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood’s in-depth coverage of Metallica details the latter half of the band’s extraordinary, decades-long career. The second volume of Metallica’s definitive biography opens as the band breaks through to mainstream with its fifth album, Metallica (a.k.a. The Black Album), topping the Billboard charts and its hit single “Enter Sandman” dominating the airwaves. By 1993, after a two-year tour, Metallica had become the biggest hard-rock band in the world. Success naturally brought new challenges, and the band ran the risk of alienating its original fans. It was beset by controversy over stylistic shifts, concessions to the mainstream, its stance on file sharing (in Metallica v. Napster), even the band members’ haircut decisions. By the end of the century, they were a band teetering on the brink of self-destruction. A stunning return to form awaited, however. Brilliantly chronicled by top UK music writers Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood, this is a masterful conclusion to an epic rock tome.

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    Into the Black by Paul Brannigan, Ian Winwood

    Into the Black

    8.9 hrs • 11/4/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
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  6. 23.7 hrs • 10/14/2014 • Unabridged

    Leonard Bernstein was a charismatic and versatile musician—a brilliant conductor who attained international superstar status and a gifted composer of Broadway musicals (West Side Story), symphonies (Age of Anxiety), choral works (Chichester Waterfront), and much more. Bernstein was also an enthusiastic letter writer, and this audiobook is the first to present a wide-ranging selection of his correspondence. The letters have been selected for the insights they offer into the passions of his life—musical and personal—and the extravagant scope of his musical and extra-musical activities. Bernstein’s letters tell much about this complex man, his collaborators, his mentors, and others close to him. His galaxy of correspondents encompassed, among others, Aaron Copland, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Thornton Wilder, Boris Pasternak, Bette Davis, Adolph Green, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and family members including his wife Felicia and his sister Shirley. The majority of these letters have never been published before. They have been carefully chosen to demonstrate the breadth of Bernstein’s musical interests, his constant struggle to find the time to compose, his turbulent and complex sexuality, his political activities, and his endless capacity for hard work. Beyond the legends: his humanity, warmth, volatility, intellectual brilliance, wonderful eye for descriptive detail, and humor.

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    The Leonard Bernstein Letters

    Edited by Nigel Simeone
    23.7 hrs • 10/14/14 • Unabridged
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  7. 1 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (1)
    9.9 hrs • 1/1/2014 • Unabridged

    Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker is the first installment in the long-awaited portrait of one of the most talented and influential musicians of the twentieth century, from Stanley Crouch, one of the foremost authorities on jazz and culture in America. Throughout his life, Charlie Parker personified the tortured American artist: a revolutionary performer who used his alto saxophone to create a new music known as bebop even as he wrestled with a drug addiction that would lead to his death at the age of thirty-four. Drawing on interviews with peers, collaborators, and family members, Kansas City Lightning re-creates Parker’s Depression-era childhood; his early days navigating the Kansas City nightlife, inspired by lions like Lester Young and Count Basie; and on to New York, where he began to transcend the music he had mastered. Crouch reveals an ambitious young man torn between music and drugs, between his domineering mother and his impressionable young wife, whose teenage romance with Charlie lies at the bittersweet heart of this story. With the wisdom of a jazz scholar, the cultural insights of an acclaimed social critic, and the narrative skill of a literary novelist, Stanley Crouch illuminates this American master as never before.

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    Kansas City Lightning by Stanley Crouch

    Kansas City Lightning

    9.9 hrs • 1/1/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (1)
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  8. 5.3 hrs • 11/14/2013 • Unabridged

    Eminent historian Paul Johnson dazzles with a rich, succinct portrait of Mozart and his music As he’s done in Napoleon, Churchill, Jesus, and Darwin, acclaimed historian and author Paul Johnson here offers a concise, illuminating biography of Mozart. Johnson’s focus is on the music—Mozart’s wondrous output of composition and his uncanny gift for instrumentation. Liszt once said that Mozart composed more bars than a trained copyist could write in a lifetime. Mozart’s gift and skill with instruments was also remarkable as he mastered all of them except the harp. For example, no sooner had the clarinet been invented and introduced than Mozart began playing and composing for it. In addition to his many insights into Mozart’s music, Johnson also challenges the many myths that have followed Mozart, including those about the composer’s health, wealth, religion, and relationships. Always engaging, Johnson offers readers and music lovers a superb examination of Mozart and his glorious music, which is still performed every day in concert halls and opera houses around the world.

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    Mozart

    5.3 hrs • 11/14/13 • Unabridged
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  9. 11.0 hrs • 11/5/2013 • Unabridged

    A landmark release, this is the first of a two-volume biography of Metallica, the biggest metal band of all time, told via exclusive interviews with the band and their world. The California quartet has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, won nine Grammy Awards, and had five consecutive albums hit number one on the US Billboard chart. Theirs is a tale about much more than sales figures and critical acclaim, though, and their journey from scuzzy Los Angeles garages to the world’s most storied stadiums has been dramatic and painful. Birth School Metallica Death is the definitive story of the most significant rock band since Led Zeppelin. It’s a story about family, community, self-belief, and the pursuit of dreams, which unfolds through firsthand interviews with the band and those closest to it. In this epic saga, deserving of a broad canvas, the first volume details the band’s rise to international fame while the second explores the challenges and tensions that accompany such status. Piece by piece, Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood reveal just how Metallica has stayed ahead of the competition for so many years.

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    Birth School Metallica Death, Vol. 1 by Paul Brannigan, Ian Winwood

    Birth School Metallica Death, Vol. 1

    11.0 hrs • 11/5/13 • Unabridged
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  10. 17.7 hrs • 10/17/2013 • Unabridged

    A major new biography of Duke Ellington from the acclaimed author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century—and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. The grandson of a slave, he dropped out of high school to become one of the world’s most famous musicians, a showman of incomparable suavity who was as comfortable in Carnegie Hall as in the nightclubs where he honed his style. He wrote some fifteen hundred compositions, many of which, like “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady,” remain beloved standards, and he sought inspiration in an endless string of transient lovers, concealing his inner self behind a smiling mask of flowery language and ironic charm. As the biographer of Louis Armstrong, Terry Teachout is uniquely qualified to tell the story of the public and private lives of Duke Ellington. Duke peels away countless layers of Ellington’s evasion and public deception to tell the unvarnished truth about the creative genius who inspired Miles Davis to say, “All the musicians should get together one certain day and get down on their knees and thank Duke.”

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    Duke

    17.7 hrs • 10/17/13 • Unabridged
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  11. 5.7 hrs • 11/20/2012 • Unabridged

    A moving and inspiring memoir from one of the greatest musical artists of all time “My given name is Anthony Dominick Benedetto, and Benedetto in Italian means ‘the blessed one.’ I couldn’t say it any better than that.”—Tony Bennett Legendary singer, artist, and performer, Tony Bennett has been one of the world’s most beloved entertainers for more than six decades. From the 78 to the LP to the digital age, Tony has done it all and is still at the top of his game. Decade after decade, this artistic icon—who has won seventeen Grammys, sung for ten presidents, and performed for royalty—has refused to compromise his vision or values. His unwavering commitment to quality has helped him stay true to his classic sound and is the reason his music continues to endure. Mentored by such legends as Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole, Bennett has only gotten better with age, and his popularity continues to grow as each new generation discovers his timeless songs and incredible voice. In this entertaining and thoughtful memoir, a collection of soulful reflections and philosophies from his life and career, Bennett shares stories of friends and family and the essential lessons they have taught him: the value of hard work and of creating art that continues to inspire; perseverance and a dedication to excellence; the necessity of humility, love, respect, and, most important, gratitude. Bennett cherishes the passion and insatiable thirst for knowledge that have shaped his life and made each day a journey of discovery. He pays tribute to all the remarkable talents he has had the honor to work with and to learn from, including Luciano Pavarotti, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Amy Winehouse, Willie Nelson, Lady Gaga, David Hockney, and K. D. Lang, to name a few. A magnificent testament to an extraordinary man and his art, Life Is a Gift is a work that will captivate, delight, and be cherished by music lovers of all ages.

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    Life Is a Gift

    Foreword by Mitch Albom
    Read by Joe Mantegna
    5.7 hrs • 11/20/12 • Unabridged
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  12. 7.9 hrs • 10/16/2012 • Unabridged

    In In the Pleasure Groove, John Taylor, Duran Duran’s cofounder, takes the reader on a wild ride through his life. From the eighties through today, from ‘Rio’ to ‘All You Need is Now,’ John writes about the music, the parties, and the MTV videos that made millions swoon. It’s been a ride—and for John in particular, the ride has been wild, thrilling … and dangerous. Now, for the first time, he tells his incredible story. A tale of dreams fulfilled, lessons learned, and demons conquered. A shy only child, Nigel John Taylor wasn’t an obvious candidate for pop stardom. But when he ditched his first name and picked up a bass guitar, everything changed. John formed Duran Duran with his friend Nick Rhodes in the summer of 1978, and they were soon joined by Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, and Simon Le Bon. The band was an immediate global success story, their pictures on millions of walls, every single a worldwide hit.In his frank, compelling autobiography, John recounts the highs he experienced—hanging out with icons like Bowie, Warhol and even James Bond; dating models and driving fast cars—all the while playing hard with the band he loved. But there were tough battles as well—troubles that brought him to the brink of self-destruction before he turned his life around.Told with humor, honesty, and hard-won wisdom, In the Pleasure Groove is a fascinating, irresistible portrait of a man who danced into the fire … and came through the other side.

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    In the Pleasure Groove

    7.9 hrs • 10/16/12 • Unabridged
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  13. 9.1 hrs • 10/2/2012 • Unabridged

    A remarkable story of a boy who couldn’t stop singing and a man who knew how to hold ’em For more than half a century, Kenny Rogers has been recording some of the most revered and beloved music in America and around the world. In that time, he has become a living legend by combining everything from R&B to country, gospel, and folk in his unique voice to create a sound that’s both wholly original and instantly recognizable. Now, in his first-ever memoir, Kenny details his lifelong journey to becoming one of American music’s elder statesmen—a rare talent who’s created hit records for decades while staying true to his values as a performer and a person. Exploring the struggles of his long road, his story begins simply: growing up in Depression-era Texas, living in the projects, surviving in poverty, and listening to his mother, who always had just the right piece of wisdom. Recounting his early years, first as a jazz bassist and later as a member of the pioneering folk group the New Christy Minstrels, Kenny charts how he came into his own as an artist with the First Edition, only to have the band’s breakup in the 1970s raise questions about his musical future. Yet, as Kenny explains, it was precisely this soul-searching that led him to a new direction on his own in Nashville. Telling the stories that have become legends in a town that’s seen many of them, he recalls the making of his career in country music and his most memorable songs, including “Lucille,” “The Gambler,” “Lady,” and “Islands in the Stream.” Along the way, he shares the friendships, both big and small, that have meant the most to him, describing the good times he’s had with Dottie West, Lionel Richie, and, of course, Dolly Parton, and how through it all he continues to make music with the passion that has defined him from the start. Looking back across the decades, Kenny writes a story seemingly straight from one of his songs. The end result is a rollicking ride through fifty years of music history, which offers a heartwarming testament to a time when country music wasn’t just a brand but a way of life.

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    Luck or Something Like It

    9.1 hrs • 10/2/12 • Unabridged
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  14. 14.2 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    Senior editor at L.A. Magazine, RJ Smith saw his first book, The Great Black Way, win the coveted California Book Award. With The One, Smith profiles one of the 20th century’s most innovative musical icons, the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. Drawing on extensive research and captivating interviews, Smith chronicles Brown’s rise from abject poverty to the pinnacle of fame, while also detailing Brown’s work as a civil rights activist and entrepreneur.n

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    The One

    14.2 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  15. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    10.8 hrs • 11/20/2011 • Unabridged

    Realistic, moving, engrossing, and positively brilliant, this biography recreates Mozart, the man and his music, against the background of the world he lived in. For Marcia Davenport, the research and writing of Mozart was truly a labor of love, during which she retraced every journey he made, saw every dwelling (then extant) in which he had ever lived, every theater where his works were first performed, and every library and museum where his manuscripts were then to be seen. In this eloquent work of historical reconstruction, Davenport lets her characters tell their own stories. She builds from Mozart’s infancy toward the climactic meeting in 1787 of Mozart, Lorenzo Da Ponte, and Casanova in Prague, when Don Giovanni was being written, to Mozart’s tragically early death. The result is a biography of such commanding stature that it has remained unassailable since its publication in 1932.

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    Mozart by Marcia Davenport

    Mozart

    10.8 hrs • 11/20/11 • Unabridged
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  16. 5.2 hrs • 10/13/2009 • Abridged

    When in the mid-1950s Andy Williams reached a low point in his career, singing in dives to ever-smaller audiences, the young man from Wall Lake, Iowa, had no inkling of the success he would one day achieve. Before being declared a national treasure by President Ronald Reagan, Williams would chart eighteen gold and three platinum albums, headline at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for more than twenty years, and host an enormously popular weekly television variety show whose Christmas specials still occupy a tender spot in every baby boomer’s heart. Williams knew everybody who was anybody during his seven remarkable decades in show business (including Judy Garland, John Huston, Jack Lemmon, John Lennon, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Barbra Streisand, among others) and was a close friend of Bobby Kennedy for many years. He shares memories of them all in Moon River and Me.                                       

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    Moon River and Me

    5.2 hrs • 10/13/09 • Abridged
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